Geography 200
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9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.

 

In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.  The statistics don't reveal the sources of this disparity, but there are nine main reasons American metro areas have ended up so much more car-dependent than cities in Western Europe.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article gives a nice comparison between American and European car use.  It points out cultural differences as well as governmental policy differences that lead to different views on public transportation and car usage.

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Kendra King's curator insight, January 28, 2015 7:51 PM

According to this article, “U.S. (transportation) planners” look to Europe for inspiration as the planners try to decrease Americans’ “car dependency.” Instead of giving answers about how to solve the “car dependency” issue, the author provided nine reasons for why Europeans walk and bike more. Ideas like how the European infrastructure was built (i.e their zoning laws, highways, and biking/pedestrian lanes) were discussed. I found the implication that European’s were able to walk more because residential areas and businesses were intermixed the most interesting of all these reasons. It could never really matter because most of America’s land is already developed, but it did make me remember an earlier study mentioned in the article in which 70% of Americans wouldn’t walk a mile when they could. Triggering this just made me think that intermixing our buildings wouldn’t matter because we are too lazy to walk. Some may come back with the idea that a lack of relaxed pedestrian and bike lanes prohibit this option. However, with the amount of sidewalks around, I just keep thinking it all goes back to how much we exercise (which isn’t much). So honestly, it is an unhealthy attitude that planners need to change. Meaning some drastic action would need to occur in order to actually change people’s habits.

 

 More drastic ideas like decreasing government subsidies on oil, taxing cars, and implementing policies that “shifted behavior” (i.e. no parking zones) were also explained. However with oil companies and car industries around, I don’t actually see lobbyist letting that happening in the short term. Ironically, the article mentioned that the reason U.S. planners were thinking about how to change transportation was because the model the county uses is “unstainable.” This means the transportation system cannot be maintained for either “environmental, social, or economic reasons” (see included link for definition). Thinking about these factors, I just kept coming back to oil. Environmentally it is a fixed resource, socially people want less of it due to climate change, and economically it is typically more costly. What this all means is that an alternative energy source is needed. When that eventually happens, America will probably believe the transportation system is sustainable again regardless of “urban sprawl” and lack of “public transportation.” I say this because the author pointed out how America thought itself stable during the 80’s and 90’s when energy prices were low thereby implying the bigger issue is the oil needed to change people’s behavior. 

 

Overall, the author did provide an in-depth list that made me pay attention to the cultural and government differences between America and Europe from the way space interacts with these regions.

 

*http://environment.transportation.org/environmental_issues/sustainability/#bookmarksubSustainableTransportation

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, February 4, 2015 6:41 PM

 A big reason why people are more car dependant in America is because we are a lazy nation.  Americans are always looking for the easy way to accomplish things, so if you can drive a mile to work in 2 minutes or walk in 15, its almost guarenteed that the American is walking! This is obviously a general term and does not apply to all Americans but a vast majority would opt for the vehicle.  As someone who has taken several trips to Europe, people there are in far better shape than in America and i'm sure that fitness along with better eating habits attribute to that.  

Another reason I believe America is more dependant than Europe on cars is because it is far easier and cheaper to travel via train or subway in Europe.  Train stations and public transport in America are expensive and only take you to highly populated areas while the trains in Europe will take you all over the continent.

 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 2:40 PM

This has major impact on health issues, because nobody wants to walk or bike anymore which most of us did until 16 years old, it is a good form of exercise and can keep a persons body weight down. Which would lead to less health issues. Also the pollution from the vehicles and illegal dumping of tires and batteries and oil which leads to environmental problems. Socially we would meet more people and even see more of our surroundings if we drove less. Economically we as individuals would save money by not driving or would we? We would save on gas, licenses, maintenance, but on the other hand our renewal of licenses, registration, and even taxes on the vehicle help support our schools, busing and other community projects. This funding would be cut and therefore taxes will rise on something else we would end up paying for. I personally just think as Americans we drive everywhere and spend less time taking bikes, walks even skateboards all over the city which we loved to do as teenagers. I don't expect to be rollerblading or skateboarding at an older age but why do we stop at 16. It is because we are allowed to under the law to drive and everyone can't wait until high school to get their license. Once we give up our bikes and rollerblades, skateboards, walks it is hard to go back to it.

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Geography in the News: Eurasia’s Boundaries

Geography in the News: Eurasia’s Boundaries | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Europe and Asia, while often considered two separate continents, both lie on the same landmass or tectonic plate, the Eurasian supercontinent. The historic and geographic story of the Eurasian boundary is intriguing."


Via Neal G. Lineback, Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I find this discussion very interesting.  How we define the boarders of the continents may not seem important but they do hold much in the way of historical and cultural meanings.  Is Europe separate from Asia or is it one super-continent?  The answer to that has many implications politically and culturally as well as historically.

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Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2014 2:26 PM

If Europe and Asia are not different continents based on the tectonic plates that they both share, would that mean that Russia is in a fact a part of Europe. Wouldn't its ties be closely link to that of Asia, because growing up in school, I was taught that Russia was closely related to the Asian continent than it was to Europe. Though Russia is sometimes perceived as being its own continent, I wonder what this discovery will mean for them long term.

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 20, 2015 1:32 PM

The article states that the idea of separate continents comes from European scholars whom wanted to give more definition to there culture and area of the world, essentially there region. I wonder if this could be said in regards to the inhabitant East of the Ural Mountains. Did they want a form of boundary to represent and distinguish there region? None the less, we live in the west so the western perspective is what guides us. 

Even if there never was a Europe and an Asia, there would still be land disputes as to whom has claim to which region/area of land. On a global perspective its viewed as Europe and Asia but when one takes a closer look its simply country and country... not continent and continent. This article is revealing the importance of Eurasia, how it truly does exist. A quasi boundary is not going to separate the once "two continents" rather nothing separates the continents, its all part of Eurasia. 

A neat part of the article is how the writer states recognizing the land mass as two continents is old and out of date. Its basically wrong and non-intelligent. I believe this is important and is something that needs to be recognized on a national scale (here in the United States). Personally I've always recognized the realm as "Eurasia." I now feel more intelligent for doing so! How do people in Europe and with this being said Asia, feel about this more reformed definition of the supercontinent? Do they even recognize it as true? Perhaps they realize there are more important issues at hand like current  countries  disputed and invaded borders.

None the less there is disputed boundaries on a more micro level, when compared to the continent versus continent scheme. For example Russian backed separatists have claimed a portion of Eastern Ukraine. Do people actually see this as Asians expanding into Europe or rather a transcontinental country (Russia) expanding itself more westward. The importance here lies in the disputed country boundaries, not continental boundaries, yet one cannot not deny the significance of the  "continental boundary" which some people do believe in. But the core of the matter is the country to country ratio. 

 

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 9, 2015 2:25 PM

This was interesting to read because I don't associate the two till I can visually see it.  Then to further call it Eurasia makes sense as well.  There is a population that are considered Asian Russians.  I did a study on this culture and I couldn't believe there were Asian Russians. This sounds crazy.  It would make sense for cross cultures in this region.  

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Time to scrap “Eastern Europe”

Time to scrap “Eastern Europe” | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Europe’s divisions are indeed grave. But counting the ex-communist countries as a single category is outdated and damaging 

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video makes a good point about where we arbitrarily draw lines on a map.  He uses different groupings to show how silly this can be.  His point is that Eastern Europe no longer really exists and we should no longer use the term.  He then suggests a few different terms to use to group countries in Europe.  My favorite was the grouping called Scared of Russia.

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 4:00 PM

Even though the Iron Curtain has long fallen, the practice of still describing the ex-Soviet countries as "Eastern Europe" still remains, and those same countries wish to change it. No longer are these countries part of the Soviet Block, and they feel that this characterization still defines them in this way. "Eastern Europe" denotes struggling economies, unhappy populations, marginalized lands, and an overall lack of development. While some countries are still recovering from Soviet rule, others have become important world powers with powerful economies. They no longer wish to be associated with Russia.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:58 PM

The old way of lumping all Countries east of Germany as simply "Eastern European" is not only wrong but can lead to negativity and conflict. These are nations which differ greatly in terms of language, ethnicity, and political affiliation should definitely not be lumped together within one identity. The fact is the Cold War has ended and instead of holding on to these out dated terms we should instead look forward and embrace these countries for what they are, unique countries with unique things to offer.

Kendra King's curator insight, February 15, 2015 7:37 PM

I don’t really see the big deal of the map categorization based on the author’s argument. I agree the Cold War labeling is “outdated,” but saying the grouping is “damaging” because people just think of those countries as “poor” is an incredibly weak argument. Anyone who wants to do business with the area will know who is fiscally sound and any country that believes this is an obstacle can easily show the notion false given the facts of the video in regards to wealth and EU membership. However, just because a country is in the EU doesn’t mean they are completely well off. Much of that area is still politically unstable, which is a whole economic value of its own. Furthermore, that wasn’t my connotation of those countries. When I think Cold War, I think of an area that is repressive and still under Russian influence. If anything, I think that is a bigger deal because Russia shouldn’t speak for a whole area.

 

I also don’t think many of the groupings really help the authors cause. If the author wants there to be less negative connotations related to the Cold War, then the area probably should make mentioned of “countries scared of Russia” as it was the major Cold War player. Nor should there be a mention of “free” economies, since the economic divide of each country played a major hand in the tension between each ideology.  So one really needs to be careful about the terms used when re-labeling an area.

 

I don’t see a huge push for renaming the area. We still live in an outdated cold war society given how the United States still looks at Russia. So I doubt, renaming will happen anytime soon. Guess the author will have to wait for the next big political crisis or war. 

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Iconic Landscapes

Iconic Landscapes | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Time lapse video compilation Civilization: Part I - Europe by professional photographer Dominic Boudreault. Shot in England, France, Spain and Italy.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I found this very stirring.  To see the old and new buildings side by side makes one think about what came before and how the past influences the future.

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 9, 2013 12:06 PM

An amazing view of some of the cities of Europe.  As a person who loves history to see these modern cities built around the old civiliztions of Europe is amazing.  For me it is Rome.  To see the runis of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in the modern Rome is just amazing.  Even more amazing is how some of the buildings built by the Romans are still standing, and in use, when modern techniques do not seem to last long at all.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 2014 5:11 PM

Europe is such a beautiful place where its landscapes, architecture, and waterways have shaped its future. This video shows the beauty of the towns and how everything in is has remembrances of the past. This video is a definite must see!

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 2014 6:03 PM

This video of iconic landscapes displays beautiful and historic architecture throughout Europe. This video allows the viewer to see these great areas of Europe. I have a great deal of respect for those who built things such as the Colosseum in Rome years ago, as it is amazing that some of these historic buildings are still standing today. 

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education
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Exclaves and Sovereignty

Exclaves and Sovereignty | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Prime Minister David Cameron is 'seriously concerned' about the escalation of tensions on the border between Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I was unaware that the UK owned this part of Gibraltar.  It seems like a throwback to the UK’s naval policies of the past that they would still to control this point of entry into the Mediterranean.  It will be interesting to see how this will be resolved.  As it is a dispute between two countries that are both part of the EU. 

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karenpinney's curator insight, August 12, 2013 5:13 AM

Relationships between Britain and Spain.

megan b clement's curator insight, October 13, 2013 12:37 AM

"The video explains about Spain and Gibraltar and how they have feuded back and forth with one another and their borders for some time now. Gibraltar has made a articfical reef to mess with the Spainish fisherman and SPain has made travel to Gibraltar nearly impossible and dreadfully long for tourists. Spain understands how essential tourism is to their economy. Until they are able to come to an agreement thei matter is only going to intenisfy more and worsen."

Aidan Lowery's curator insight, March 21, 11:59 AM
unit 4
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Rising Anti-Immigration Sentiment in the EU

Stratfor Europe Analyst Adriano Bosoni discusses the political implications of the increasing number of migrants from the European Union's periphery to its c...

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video describes the increase in immigration into EU countries from other EU countries.  The EU agreements on free movement are being challenged in countries that feel rightly or wrongly that the immigrants coming in are a drain on their economies during this difficult economic time.  It is interesting to see how Europe deals with this immigration issue compared to how America deals with its immigration issues.

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Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 4:05 PM

Western Europe is facing the troubles of immigration for jobs. Countries in Europe, such as Eastern countries of Bulgaria and the P.I.G.S. are moving to core countries in search of work that the cannot find in their own land. The problem becomes a matter of the core country citizens not having jobs for themselves as their economy joins other in slowing down. Racial tensions are rising because of this. The video generalizes the anti-immigration as just anti-immigrants but as images in the video would suggest, much of the resentment is  towards Muslim immigrants.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 4:42 PM

this is hardly surprising that anti-immigrant sentiment has risen to this level. with no go zones in most major European cities it is unsurprising that people are trying to push back. considering that there are areas in Britain with sharia law, it's hardly surprising.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 15, 2015 1:58 PM

whenever you think about people rejecting immigration and illigal immigration being a problem you think about the united states but it is a problem all over the world. it does effect demographics of countries and places need to figure out how to balance helping others by letting them come to your country without it negatively effecting the well being of you own citizens in regards to jobs.

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Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros

Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The independence-minded region of Catalonia asks the Spanish central government for an extra 9bn euros (£7.7bn) in bailout money.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This area seems to want it both ways.  To be independent from Spain, but also dependent economically on Spain.  This region should sort out its priorities and decided if independents is worth it and if so then they should not be asking Spain for help.  It’s like a twenty-something person that moves out of their parents’ house and then comes back again and again with their hand out.  Catalonia seems to be facing this same issue.

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Dean Haakenson's curator insight, February 4, 2013 2:31 PM

Another peg in the collective EU coffin...

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:21 AM

This is sad news for an area that is trying to persuede the world it deserves to be independent. Unfortunately,  they still have to rely on the Spanish government to help their economy, something that does not help their case.  While other countries do take money from other powers, one that is trying to establish itself might want to have a more optimistic outlook on it's economy before it tries to go off on it's own.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 30, 2014 9:00 PM

Catalonia, an independent region wants Spain to give them 9 billion euros in order to help them stay out of debt, but also want to keep themselves independent of Spain. The most interesting aspect of this article is how the region of Catalonia wants to be independent, but still seek help from the very place it wants to be independent from.

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Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs'

Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs' | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article shows that no matter how small the world is becoming nationalism is still present and will cause issues between different factions and supporters of different national identities.  The issue over what flag will be flown in a country can spark outrage and anger not by people against the flag but the people for it as they feel it should be flown all the time as opposed to a limited amount of days in the year.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 11, 2013 2:01 PM

Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power.  If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious.  Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy. 


Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.